February 5, 2020
Notes from the Advisory Council

We Are the Filter
By Joe Michon-Huneau, Northshire Bookstore (Manchester, VT)
January and February are slower months in the book world, especially snowy days when skiers are busy on the slopes and locals are digging out their driveways. Slower sales, fewer customers, infrequent foot traffic, you know the deal. But late winter is the perfect time for many things: tidying up shelves, pre-spring cleaning behind the counters, dusting, returning stale releases that didn't sell the way we hoped they would. But when the rare book seeker wanders into the store, the chilly months are the perfect time to handsell our favorite books.

Some of us may feel a bit rusty after the madness of the holiday season. But the slower pace of late winter is excellent for practicing your handselling techniques. Engaging with customers, making connections, asking what people are reading or have read recently — you never know what common interests you could stumble upon. We all chose bookselling as a profession because, beyond loving to read, we also love talking about books with like-minded people. 

Last week I sold someone a copy of   The Dud Avocado . They weren't looking for it, nor had they ever heard of it, but it left the store in good hands. The customer was looking for two other NYRB books, neither of which we had, but their inquiry spurred a brief conversation about common interests, and then: the pitch. I talked about why I love this particular NYRB title, said it was a recent favorite, proclaimed it an underrated gem, etc. The only handselling "trick" I used was an honest passion for the book. There are many ways to handsell, but this method is my favorite, tried and true. The best energy you can put into handselling comes directly from your personal connection to the book you are placing in the customer's hand.

It's not always as easy. Another gentleman walked in earlier that same day asking for a recommendation that at first glance was outside my wheelhouse: he loved Patrick O'Brian and wanted to start another historical fiction series. Not my cup of tea at all. But after soliciting help from coworkers that read more historical fiction than I do — the second best handselling method, in my opinion: introduce the customer to a bookseller who knows more about the customer's stated interest — we had gone through recommendations he'd either already read or wasn't interested in: Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Patrick Taylor, Dorothy Dunnett, etc. I was at a loss, but not ready to forfeit. On to the third method I typically employ: broaden the scope of potential interest. We walked to our historical fiction display and I told him about my favorite of the bunch,   The Name of the Rose . It wasn't a series, but it was long enough to keep him busy for a while, and after I explained what I liked about it, he tucked it under his arm and headed to the checkout counter. We don't always have precisely what the customer wants, but with such a wonderful inventory at our fingertips, sometimes all we need is a bit of meandering.

And, in perhaps the easiest handsell of the day, a question from a customer about whether I knew anything about poetry led to a great conversation and her purchasing two older favorites and a newer poet I stumbled upon last spring:  Tracy K. Smith Albert Goldbarth , &  Shauna Barbosa .

Though it's over a decade old, I really like   this ABA article , based on a handselling lecture from BookExpo '09. The lecturer starts out with the sentence "We are the filter." For many customers, this is true. Customers rely on us for guidance, be it in the form of handselling or shelf talkers or creative, thoughtful displays, and we get our pick of the litter when it comes to new releases. We see galleys and new releases before the public does—we have access to the freshest of the fresh, only one or two levels below the editors and publishers themselves. We are influencers and tastemakers; customers rely on us to find their next favorite book. We do more than just point customers toward the next James Patterson.  

So read often, old and new, and put those books into the hands of your customers. Pitch your favorites passionately. Ask customers and coworkers what they are reading and take a chance when they hand you something unexpected. You never know who will guide you to your next favorite book.
Items of Importance

February 21: Deadline for Massachusetts stores to submit ArtWeek Event applications

ALA Announces 2020 Youth Media Award Winners
On January 27, the American Library Association revealed its 2020 Youth Media Award Winners. A complete list of winners can be found here. NEIBA is happy to share that 2019 NEIBA Book Award Winners New Kid by Jerry Kraft (Children's) and Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Young Adult) and 2019 Fall Conference participant Nikki Grimes ( Ordinary Hazards ) were among the winners and honorees. Congratulations, all!
Portland's Print: A Bookstore Buys Their Building
On Friday, January 17th, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME closed shop early "for secret reasons." Those reasons have since been revealed. In an announcement to customers, co-owners Josh Christie and Emily Russo shared that they have purchased their space at 273 Congress Street from their landlords: "We’ve always wanted to be a neighborhood bookstore, first and foremost. This purchase adds to and ensures that commitment to supporting Portland and its residents, especially in the East End." 
Massachusetts Stores: Apply to host an ArtWeek Event
Application Deadline is February 21
ArtWeek, Massachusetts' award-winning statewide festival, is calling for creative events that are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to arts, culture, and the creative economy. Since 2013, ArtWeek has offered 2,000+ unique experiences to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds. Anyone can host an ArtWeek event, from large organizations to individual artists, so long as events meet the following criteria:

  • The event takes place during the ten days of ArtWeek (May 1 - 10, 2020)
  • (Don't forget: Children's Book Week is May 4 - 10, 2020!)
  • The event charges attendees no more than $50 per person (most are free)
  • The event includes a special "ArtWeek twist" that is participatory, interactive, or offers behind-the-scenes access to a creative experience

Applications and additional information can be found here on ArtWeek's website.
Brookline Booksmith seeks Events Co-Director
Interested in joining Brookline Booksmith ? The Events Co-Director should be outgoing and possess strong communication and interpersonal skills. They should be comfortable with public speaking. They should be savvy with social media and knowledgeable of literary market trends. Of course, being able to work collaboratively and with a team is a must, but the Co-Director must also be able to work independently to recognize and manage their own priorities, and be able to execute tasks correctly, efficiently, and quickly. This is a full-time position. Please direct any inquiries to Peter Win, Owner & Manager at
Simon & Schuster seeks Telesales Account Manager
Simon & Schuster is looking for a Telesales Account Manager on the Independent Bookstore Team based in the New York office to sell our complete list—wholly-owned children’s, adult, audio, and distributed client titles—to an account base of 150 independent bookstores across the country. The telesales account manager is responsible for maximizing sales exposure for frontlist and backlist titles by performing analysis and using independent judgment to make recommendations on product selection and quantity to their accounts based on knowledge of both their customers and our titles. To read more about this role (and apply online), visit the Simon & Schuster website.
To add a listing to the newsletter 
and website, e-mail
Join us for a NEIBA Office-Warming Cocktail Party!
NEIBA's home is now One Beacon Street in downtown Boston! Join us for a tour of our space, as well as food and drink, on Thursday, February 13 at 5 PM — after our first Advisory Council meeting of 2020. Guests in our building must be pre-registered with security, so please RSVP to this event and we will have a visitor's badge waiting for you. Hope to see you here!
Pre-Register for 2020's Find Waldo Local
Would your bookstore like to participate in the year's Find Waldo Local event? If so, submit your application through the ABA website. The application deadline is March 1. Participation will be capped at 250 host bookstores. Stores will find out if they were selected by March 15. This event is co-sponsored by the ABA and Candlewick Press.
Got Education Ideas?
Following Winter Institute, we want to hear what education you're eager to receive from NEIBA in 2020 (and beyond). Whether it's preferred formats, topics, or anything in between — complete our survey, here, to make your voice heard!
Food for Thought
A round-up of pieces across publications

"#DignidadLiteraria, Macmillan Meet to Discuss Latinx Representation In Publishing" (PW)
Social Media Spotlight
Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)
@bsb_savoy: Bank Square Books bookseller, Dakota, has jazzed up the chalkboard for February! Is there a book you’ve recently fallen in love with? ♥️ 📖
Best Sellers   
for the week ended
Sunday February 2, 2020

Based on reporting from the independent booksellers of
NEIBA and IndieBound 

1. American Dirt
Jeanine Cummins, Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250209764
2. A Long Petal of the Sea
Isabel Allende, Ballantine, $28, 9781984820150
3. Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens, Putnam, $26, 9780735219090
4. Such a Fun Age
Kiley Reid, Putnam, $26, 9780525541905
5. The Dutch House
Ann Patchett, Harper, $27.99, 9780062963673
6. Olive, Again
Elizabeth Strout, Random House, $27, 9780812996548
7. The Giver of Stars
Jojo Moyes, Pamela Dorman Books, $28, 9780399562488
8. Dear Edward
Ann Napolitano, The Dial Press, $27, 9781984854780
9. The Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates, One World, $28, 9780399590597
10. Long Bright River
Liz Moore, Riverhead Books, $26, 9780525540670
11. The Topeka School
Ben Lerner, FSG, $27, 9780374277789
12. Nothing to See Here New!
Kevin Wilson, Ecco, $26.99, 9780062913463
13. The Starless Sea
Erin Morgenstern, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385541213
14. Circe New!
Madeline Miller, Little Brown, $27, 9780316556347
15. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong, Penguin Press, $26, 9780525562023

1. A Very Stable Genius
Philip Rucker, Carol Leonnig, Penguin Press, $30, 9781984877499
2. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Charlie Mackesy, HarperOne, $22.99, 9780062976581
3. Educated
Tara Westover, Random House, $28, 9780399590504
4. You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples
Patricia Marx, Roz Chast (Illus.), Celadon Books, $20, 9781250225139
5. Talking to Strangers
Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown, $30, 9780316478526
6. Say Nothing
Patrick Radden Keefe, Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385521314
7. Why We're Polarized New!
Ezra Klein, Avid Reader Press/S&S, $28, 9781476700328
8. The Blue Zones Kitchen
Dan Buettner, National Geographic, $30, 9781426220135
9. The Body
Bill Bryson, Doubleday, $30, 9780385539302
10. Catch and Kill
Ronan Farrow, Little Brown, $30, 9780316486637
11. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Lori Gottlieb, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328662057
12. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat New!
Samin Nosrat, Wendy MacNaughton (Illus.), S&S, $35, 9781476753836
13. Tightrope
Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn, Knopf, $27.95, 9780525655084
14. Strange Planet New!
Nathan W. Pyle, Morrow Gift, $14.99, 9780062970701
15. The Making of a Miracle: The Untold Story of the Captain of the 1980 Gold Medal-Winning U.S. Olympic Hockey Team New!
Mike Eruzione, Neal Boudette, Harper, $27.99, 9780062960955

1. The Overstory
Richard Powers, Norton, $18.95, 9780393356687
2. Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng, Penguin, $17, 9780735224315
3. A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles, Penguin, $17, 9780143110439
4. Unsheltered
Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Perennial, $17.99, 9780062684738
5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Heather Morris, Harper, $16.99, 9780062797155
6. Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate, Ballantine, $17, 9780425284704
7. Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout, Random House, $17, 9780812971835
8. The Woman in the Window
A.J. Finn, Morrow, $16.99, 9780062678423
9. Girl, Woman, Other
Bernardine Evaristo, Grove Press/Black Cat, $17, 9780802156983
10. There There
Tommy Orange, Vintage, $16, 9780525436140
11. The Great Alone
Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99, 9781250229533
12. We Must Be Brave
Frances Liardet, Putnam, $17, 9780735218871
13. The Last Romantics New!
Tara Conklin, Morrow, $17.99, 9780062358219
14. The Handmaid's Tale New!
Margaret Atwood, Anchor, $15.95, 9780525435006
15. Little Women (Vintage Classics)
Louisa May Alcott, Vintage, $10, 9781984898852

1. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference
Greta Thunberg, Penguin, $10, 9780143133568
2. Just Mercy
Bryan Stevenson, Spiegel & Grau, $17, 9780593133934
3. The Library Book
Susan Orlean, S&S, $16.99, 9781476740195
4. Born a Crime
Trevor Noah, Spiegel & Grau, $18, 9780399588198
5. White Fragility
Robin DiAngelo, Beacon Press, $16, 9780807047415
6. The Source of Self-Regard
Toni Morrison, Vintage, $16.95, 9780525562795
7. Sapiens
Yuval Noah Harari, Harper Perennial, $24.99, 9780062316110
8. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country New!
Pam Houston, Norton, $15.95, 9780393357660
9. Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love New!
Dani Shapiro, Anchor, $16.95, 9780525434030
10. The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America New!
Matt Kracht, Chronicle, $15.95, 9781452174037
11. Frederick Douglass
David W. Blight, S&S, $20, 9781416590323
12. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup New!
John Carreyrou, Vintage, $16.95, 9780525431992
13. The Soul of an Octopus New!
Sy Montgomery, Atria, $16.99, 9781451697728
14. Braiding Sweetgrass New!
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Milkweed Editions, $18, 9781571313560
15. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive
Stephanie Land, Hachette Books, $15.99, 9780316505093

1. The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin, Ace, $9.99, 9780441478125
2. Dune
Frank Herbert, Ace, $10.99, 9780441172719
3. 1984 New!
George Orwell, Signet, $9.99, 9780451524935
4. Little Women
Louisa May Alcott, Signet, $6.99, 9780593198025
5. Good Omens
Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Morrow, $9.99, 9780062836977
6. Neuromancer New!
William Gibson, Ace, $8.99, 9780441569595
7. The Last Wish New!
Andrzej Sapkowski, Orbit, $8.99, 9780316029186
8. Binti New!
Nnedi Okorafor,, $9.99, 9780765385253
9. Elevation
Stephen King, Scribner, $9.99, 9781982102326
10. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy New!
Douglas Adams, Del Rey, $7.99, 9780345391803

1. Love from the Crayons
Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illus.), Penguin Workshop, $9.99, 9781524792688
2. Make Way for Ducklings
Robert McCloskey, Puffin, $7.99, 9780140564341
3. The Snowy Day
Ezra Jack Keats, Viking Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9780670012701
4. Where the Wild Things Are New!
Maurice Sendak, Harper, $19.95, 9780060254926
5. A Valentine for Uni the Unicorn New!
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Random House Books for Young Readers, $8.99, 9781984850225
6. Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (Illus.), Harper, $8.99, 9780694003617
7. In a Jar
Deborah Marcero, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780525514596
8. The Undefeated New!
Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson (Illus.), Versify, $17.99, 9781328780966
9. The Serious Goose
Jimmy Kimmel, Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780525707752
10. Pat the Bunny New!
Dorothy Kunhardt, Golden Books, $9.99, 9780307120007

1. New Kid
Jerry Craft, Harper, $12.99, 9780062691194
2. Guts
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $12.99, 9780545852500
3. Karen's Witch New!
Ann M. Martin, Katy Farina (Illus.), Graphix, $10.99, 9781338315196
4. Drama New!
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545326995
5. One of Us Is Next
Karen M. McManus, Delacorte Press, $19.99, 9780525707967
6. Little Women
Louisa May Alcott, Puffin, $8.99, 9780142408766
7. The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062871350
8. Sunnyside Plaza New!
Scott Simon, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780316531207
9. Best Friends
Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illus.), First Second, $12.99, 9781250317469
10. Sisters
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545540605

1. Dog Man: Fetch-22
Dav Pilkey, Graphix, $12.99, 9781338323214
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball
Jeff Kinney, Abrams, $14.99, 9781419739033
3. Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls
Dav Pilkey, Graphix, $12.99, 9781338236590
4. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (The Questioneers)
Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (Illus.), Abrams, $18.99, 9781419737046
5. The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #5)
Ransom Riggs, Dutton Books for Young Readers, $22.99, 9780735231504
6. Dog Man
Dav Pilkey, Graphix, $9.99, 9780545581608
7. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) New!
Rick Riordan, Hyperion, $7.99, 9781423134947
8. Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha, #2)
Tomi Adeyemi, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), $19.99, 9781250170996
9. The Bad Guys in the Baddest Day Ever (The Bad Guys, #10) New!
Aaron Blabey, Scholastic, $5.99, 9781338305845
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone New!
J.K.Rowling, Scholastic, $10.99, 9780590353427